2006 Nissan Altima Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Nissan Altima Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Altima Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 250 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Nissan Altima

  • Though lacking a bit in refinement, the 2006 Nissan Altima is a midsize sedan to be desired, especially when equipped with the 250-horsepower V6.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sports car power in a midsize sedan body, excellent handling, roomy and comfortable interior, high level of features, distinctive styling.

  • Cons

    Considerable road noise, overboosted steering, no stability control, ABS still an extra-cost option.

  • What's New for 2006

    Changes to the Nissan Altima for 2006 are limited to package revisions and the addition of optional satellite radio.

Full 2006 Nissan Altima Review

What's New for 2006

Changes to the Nissan Altima for 2006 are limited to package revisions and the addition of optional satellite radio.


Introduced in 1993, the first-generation Nissan Altima sold well, proved reliable and was rather fun to drive. A solid car all around, even today as an inexpensive used vehicle. Then, in 1998, Nissan redesigned it into obscurity. The car was still reliable and rather fun to drive, and it was even bigger inside and out than the original. Surefire recipe for success, right? Problem was it had the personality of a bowl of dry Grape Nuts. Staid styling, obvious cost-cutting and an overall tinny feel did the Altima no favors, and the "affordable luxury" advertising tag line no longer rang true. The Nissan car faded from consumer shopping lists, kept alive thanks only to fleet sales and hefty rebates.

With the third-generation Altima, Nissan said it wanted to bring a sense of passion and driving spirit back into the segment. Wanted? More like needed. Since its redesign in 2002, the Nissan Altima has been a wild success as buyers have been won over by its likable combination of performance, space and comfort. Interior design and materials have never been its strong suit in a class populated by the ever refined Accord, Camry and Passat, though Nissan improved the cabin quarters somewhat for 2005. Many competitors now have big V6s of their own to keep up with the Altima, while the Mazda 6 and Galant hold a slight edge in dynamics. Even so, the 2006 Nissan Altima still delivers a well-rounded package in either the sedate 2.5 S or the zoomy 3.5 SE. A slightly more powerful Altima SE-R model with a firmer suspension was added to the lineup last year, so for those looking for a family sedan that can still thrill in the turns, the Altima deserves serious attention.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Six Nissan Altima models are offered: the base 2.5, 2.5 S, 3.5 SE, 3.5 SL and SE-R. The 2.5 is a bare-bones model with minimal features. Most buyers will want to start with the 2.5 S as it has air conditioning; cruise control; a stereo with a CD player; power windows, locks and mirrors; and keyless entry. Next up is the 3.5 SE, which adds V6 power, 17-inch alloy wheels and sportier suspension tuning. The 3.5 SL has a softer suspension and smaller 16-inch wheels, but adds more upscale amenities like leather seating, a sunroof, a trip computer, power driver seat, automatic climate control, a Bose audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer and steering wheel-mounted controls; many of these features are optional on the 2.5 S and 3.5 SE. The performance-oriented Altima SE-R has all of the above features, plus an even firmer suspension than the 3.5 SE. It also has 18-inch wheels with summer tires, bigger brakes, unique gauges, dark chrome trim, sport seats and HID headlights. The only major stand-alone option for the Altima is a DVD-based navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2.5 Altima models are powered by a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated for 175 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque (170 hp and 175 lb-ft in PZEV states). The base 2.5 takes a five-speed manual transmission only, but 2.5 S buyers have their choice of the manual or a four-speed automatic. The 3.5 SE, 3.5 SL and SE-R come with a 3.5-liter V6. In the 3.5 SE and SL, this engine cranks out 250 horses and 249 lb-ft of twist. Tuning enhancements on the SE-R push horsepower and torque to 260 and 251, respectively. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic on 3.5 SE and SE-R models; the 3.5 SL comes with an automatic only.


Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard; ABS is standard on the SE-R, 3.5 SL and automatic-equipped 3.5 SE and optional on all other Altimas, except the base 2.5. Also optional are front-seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Traction control is optional on V6 automatic models only. In government crash tests, the Nissan Altima received a perfect five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts. An Altima without side airbags earned three stars for side-impact protection. In IIHS frontal offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the Altima received the top rating of "Good."

Interior Design and Special Features

The dashboard features a sporty three-pod instrument layout and an uncluttered center stack. The steering wheel offers tilt and telescoping adjustment. Both the front and rear seats are comfortable and roomy, and the trunk has a generous 15.6-cubic-foot capacity.

Driving Impressions

Both engines render the 2006 Nissan Altima fun to drive, and its capable suspension gives the Nissan car a more sporting character than most family sedans. True enthusiasts will want to check out the Altima SE-R performance model as it offers the most aggressively tuned suspension.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Long term owner

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I bought my Nissan Altima 3.5 SE in 2006 and have been very pleased with it over the course of its lifetime. I had no warranty issues and have made sure that regular maintenance has been done. This car has been fun to drive and I enjoy getting into it every day. Overall I am very pleased with this car. Pleasantry aside, I recently needed to have the timing chain replaced. This is not cheap and is a labor intensive job. Aside from the timing chain and other regular maintenance (brakes, battery, et cetera) I have not had any issues with my car. I plan on driving this colloquial tank into the ground.

172,000 miles and no problems

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

I bought my Altima in 2009 with 40,000 miles on it. It's now at 172,000 miles and still runs perfectly. It has been driven very hard the entire time I have had it. I drive the car 100mph+ on a weekly basis and it has never failed me. All I have done is change the oil every 3000 miles. I've had to replace the brakes a few times which has more to do with how I drive than anything else. I would highly recommend an Altima to anyone who is looking for a dependable vehicle. It's not the fastest or best handling car on the road but it is more than capable of anything you would need. Only complaint might be that it handled poorly in the snow when I used to live in Michigan.

Do not buy! serious design/quality

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

These cars have very serious powertrain problems. The pre-cat disintegrating over time and the bits and pieces being sucked into the engine, possibly causing engine damage, and causing oil burn. All 02-06 Altimas suffer from the same serious design flaw. For that alone you should avoid this car. Other common problems include butterfly valve screws being sucked into the engine and causing damage, timing chain problems, floor boards rusting through, and rough-shifting transmissions. Despite what the Edmunds review says the car is NOT fun to drive. The powertrain is extremely unrefined and noisy. It also only gets around 20 mpg in the city, which is pathetic for a 4 cylinder.

Never buy a nissan. acceleration

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

Nissan has acceleration problems. The sensor in the gas pedal can develop faults, leading to a sluggish acceleration or an outright stall regardless of how much throttle the driver dials in. If you google "nissan acceleration problem", there are 2,360,000 results show in 0.13 seconds. The year spans from 1994 to 2013 in Rouge, Altima, Sentra, Cube, Maxima, etc. although Nissan only recalled the 2004-2013 cars. I have a 2006 Nissan Altima, which showed the sudden stop in high way 4 times from 2010 to 2013. But my car is not in the recall list. Nissan and its dealers are finding all excuses to push off the responsibility. My lesson is never buy a Nissan.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

My first nissan and the

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

I bought it brand new with 66 miles on it . at 40k miles the engine was already shaking like a 10 years old car at 80k miles have change the shocks 3 times have to do aligment 3 times per year and it still doesnt feel good driving it . the engine and the transmition are fine but to many troubles with suspention .very disapointed ...

Reasonable car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

Very comfortable, reliable, somewhat fun to drive, somewhat rough to drive (not smooth ride). Spacey, good interior design, not so good exterior design. glove-box noise. drive train noise especially back wheels. shakes and vibrates at high speeds.

Talk About The 2006 Altima

2006 Nissan Altima Discussions See all Started By

I have a nissan altima 2006 2.5 car, which has 125k miles on it. It has some metallic sound coming last year when going over rough roads and holes. So I replaced all four rotors and pads. Then, the so...

I am in the market for a new sedan. I have thus far narrowed it down to a 2006 Nissan Altima 2.5s or a 2006 Subaru Legacy 2.5i. I will be going to college in the fall and will be commuting from NY to...

I have a 2000 Nissan Altima. I had the EGR Valve replaced in April of 2006. This month (March 2007) my check engine light came on. After taking the car to Autozone to take advantage of their free di...

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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